Longhoughton U9...0 Bedlington Town Vipers U9...2
Pin Point U9 Junior League
LONGHOUGHTON suffered from the Viper’s sting in a narrow defeat against Bedlington in a closely-contested U9 Pin Point Junior League fixture.
On a bright, yet chilly, Sunday morning it was Longhoughton who started the better. With football as bright as the spring-like day, they created a number of chances in the opening quarter.
Joseph Cormack and Gareth Rickaby had early shots well saved by the Bedlington keeper.
Good passing football by Longhoughton manufactured crossing opportunities for Zac Stephenson, yet his team-mates were finding the finishing touch elusive. Stephenson, himself, came close to a goal, yet his well-hit cross-shot was saved by the Bedlington keeper.
The second quarter began in the same fashion.
Joe Archbold, shrugging off the loss of a tooth earlier in the game, was making incisive runs deep into Bedlington territory. From one such run, he fed the ball into the path of Rickaby, yet the resultant shot was again stopped by a Bedlington keeper in rich form.
However, Longhoughton’s keeper was being equally inspired.
A spectator for the entire first quarter, Niall Murtagh had to move smartly from his line to deny a Bedlington striker. From the resultant interception, Longhoughton swept down the pitch. The ball found Rickaby free on the Longhoughton left and this time his shot beat the Bedlington keeper but soundly smacked against the Bedlington crossbar and away.
Straightaway, Bedlington sprung a counter-attack and it is to Rickaby’s great credit that it was his covering tackle – made in the opposite diagonal corner of the pitch – that denied the Vipers a shooting chance.
But the Vipers sensed their chance. Again they attacked.
Their first attempt was blocked on the edge of the Longhoughton area but the ball ran loose to a Bedlington midfielder. His instant shot rose high into the Longhoughton net (0-1).
Conceding the first goal was tough on a Longhoughton side who were passing the ball beautifully. Straight from the kick-off they pressed for an equaliser. Scott Button won the ball on the left side. He played it inside to Alex Threlfall who played it into the path of Thorsten Robinson.
Thorsten beat a defender on the right side before sending a dipping cross into the Bedlington box. The cross beat everyone and, for the second time in as many minutes, the ball crashed back from the Bedlington crossbar.
The third quarter saw Bedlington denied a further goal.
A Bedlington corner was cleared to the edge of the Longhoughton area.
But the Vipers returned the ball low to the right corner of the Longhoughton goal. However, a darting outstretched foot from Murtagh deflected the ball away from trouble. Longhoughton were determined to level the game.
Threlfall moved into midfield and looked threatening whenever he had the ball.
An excellent pass by Joseph Cormack found Threlfall in space and he drove towards the Bedlington defence.
With a brilliant trick, quickly switching the ball from left foot to right, he beat two Bedlington defenders. Looking up, he cut the ball back to Cormack.
Surely now Longhoughton would equalise, but no, Joseph’s shot was saved by a full-length dive by the over-worked Vipers keeper.
The fourth quarter began with a hammer blow for Longhoughton. Straight from kick-off, the ball was played to the Bedlington left. At least 25 yards out and on the diagonal, the Bedlington midfielder struck a speculative shot at goal.
It could have gone anywhere but rose high into the air and, aided by a following wind, darted Viper-like into the top left corner of the Longhoughton net.
This goal was cruel on Longhoughton and decisive to the outcome of the match.
The remainder of the game was played almost exclusively in the Bedlington half. Shots from Cormack, Button and Lewis Fairbairn were well saved.
Bedlington were absorbing Longhoughton’s best shots yet still had the ability to land their own on the Longhoughton defence and the last action of the match demonstrated this. A crossfield pass found the Bedlington right-winger in space and his fierce shot was very well blocked by Murtagh in the Longhoughton goal.